Pests are a perennial threat to any household, but in summer, pest activity tends to increase. As temperatures and humidity levels rise, some pests are forced to seek shelter in hidden spaces inside your home.
What are the pests you need to keep an eye out for and the places you need to check to make sure there isn’t an infestation lurking in your home?
Common Summer Pests
- Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes can spread several life-threatening diseases such as the West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever, dengue and encephalitis. Since female mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, it’s important that you get rid of standing water in and around your home. Cover pots and other containers and make sure there aren’t any leaves or twigs clogging up your gutters.
- Flies – Keeping flies out of your home can be tricky. To keep them from entering your home, window and doors should be closed when not in use. The best way to control flies is to keep them from multiplying. You can do so by keeping your home clean. Regularly wipe your kitchen countertops with disinfectant, store leftovers in tightly sealed containers and take out the garbage on a daily basis.
- Termites and carpenter ants – These pests can damage the foundation of your home. What makes termites and carpenter ants especially threatening is how hard it is to detect them. These pests tend to hide in decaying leaves and debris, which is why you should routinely rake leaves strewn across your backyard and have your gutters regularly cleaned.
- Stinging insects such as bees, wasps and hornets – These pests love moist environments, so you need to make sure there aren’t any areas with stagnant water surrounding your home. If you find any nests, have a professional remove them. These pests tend to be aggressive around their marked territory. Until a pest control professional removes the nest, try to avoid the area.
Aside from the aforementioned insects, what are the other pests you should keep an eye out for?
- Birds – Birds tend to be more of a problem in spring when they migrate northward in search of new sources of food and nesting grounds. They tend to build their nests in small, enclosed spaces like gutters. Birds might seem harmless at first, but like any other wild animal, they can carry with them several diseases and parasites. Not to mention the extra weight load from their nests can cause sections of your gutters to sag.
Keep in mind that Federal law protects more than 800 bird species in North America, preventing anyone from disturbing, killing or trapping protected bird species. If you notice bird nests in your gutters, it’s best to err on the side of caution and contact a pest control company. You could also take the necessary precautions to discourage birds from nesting in your gutters such as using bird repellent or installing gutter guards.
- Rodents – Rodent activity starts to increase in autumn as these pests look for shelter in anticipation of the colder weather. Tiny rodents usually infiltrate homes through small cracks, so you should occasionally inspect your exterior for cracks and holes. Fortunately, rodents are fairly easy to detect, as they tend to make a lot of noise while they’re scurrying about.
Potential Hiding Places for Pests
Where do pests usually lay their eggs or build their nests? In general, insects usually prefer areas or containers that have stagnant water or decaying organic debris, while larger pests such as birds and rodents prefer enclosed spaces that can provide shelter against the elements.
The usual hiding places for pests are:
- Sinks and drains – If your kitchen sink isn’t properly sanitized, grease and food waste in your drains might attract cockroaches, drain beetles and fruit flies. Experts recommend using a smaller drain mesh and a drain cleaner to discourage pests from making their nests in your sink.
- The kitchen pantry – Expired food can attract moths, weevils, beetles and rodents. That’s why you should occasionally take inventory of your pantry and make sure none of the food items there are past their expiration date.
- Bedroom – Some pests make their nests in bedsheets and other items containing fabric such as bed sheets, stuffed animals and even purses. What’s concerning about these pests is that they’re quite hardy. For instance, lice can live off a human host for up to 24 hours and survive in water for eight hours, while bedbugs multiply quickly and can only be exterminated by a professional bedbug company.
- Gutters – Since your gutter is an ideal breeding ground for pests (it’s a small, enclosed space where decaying leaves and organic debris tend to accumulate), it’s not surprising that pests are often found there. Fortunately, routine gutter cleaning is a great way to keep pests out.
How Gutter Guards Can Help Prevent Pest Infestations
What if you just don’t have the time to regularly clean your gutters? You can install gutter covers, which prevent leaves and debris from entering your gutters in the first place. Keep in mind that most gutter guards only reduce, not eliminate, your gutters’ maintenance needs. You’ll still need to remove leaves and organic debris that accumulate on top of the gutter covers periodically. The exception is Gutter Helmet® gutter guards, the only gutter protection product with a Never Clean Your Gutters Again® guarantee.
How Gutter Helmet Keeps Debris and Pests Out of Your Gutters
What makes Gutter Helmet different from conventional gutter covers? Gutter Helmet uses the principle of surface tension to direct the flow of water to your gutters. Surface tension happens when water molecules stick tightly to each other when they have nothing else to cling to. To observe surface tension in action, fill a glass with water and watch how water forms a dome at the top of the glass right before it spills over. When rain hits Gutter Helmet’s ribbed surface, water is directed to the gutter covers’ patented nose-forward design. Water molecules cling to the surface of the gutter cover thanks to surface tension, while leaves and other debris are kept out.
What if birds and other large pests try to dislodge your gutter covers? Gutter Helmet is attached using heavy-duty mounting brackets, which large pests can’t easily dislodge. Gutter Helmet is also compatible with most gutter systems, including seamless gutters.
There’s another issue that can arise from irregular gutter maintenance: sagging gutters. Under excess weight load from overflowing rainwater or decaying leaves and twigs, sections of your gutters may start to sag, trapping rainwater and creating a damp environment that’s perfect for pests. Left unattended, some sections of your gutters might even start to pull apart at the seams. Installing gutter covers can help prevent sagging gutters. For additional protection against leaks, contractors recommend installing seamless gutters.
Seamless gutters have fewer joints than sectional gutters, making them less vulnerable to leaks. Seamless gutters are also less susceptible to clogs: debris can flow straight to the drains without getting caught up in the joints. They also boast a streamlined design that will enhance your home’s curb appeal.
For more tips on how to keep pests from nesting in your gutters, consult an experienced contractor.